Category Archives: startup

5 Audacious Motives for Investing in a CRM

iStock_000041800086_SmallIt’s time consuming to setup.  It’s expensive to get started.  And nobody really wants to do it.  But the perils of not spending the time and money on a CRM (Customer relationship management) system can be more devastating than the initial pain.

What may be your motives for taking on this fruitful challenge?

You don’t want to navigate blindly

Can you get accurate forecasts by sticking your finger in the wind?  If so, kudos to you!  But for the rest of us, seeing what is coming through the pipeline (numbers and dollars) is essential for accurate planning.

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I Love to Follow/Break the Rules

break the rulesIn a recent ‘profile’ form I was filling out, it asked for “things I like:” and I wrote (among other things) “following the rules”.  But the next statement asked for “things I don’t like:” and I wrote “following the rules”.

(just to note…other things I don’t like: inefficiency, getting sun burned, and standing in lines)

Those statements above might seem contradictory and, quite frankly, hypocritical, but in the words of comedian Kevin Hart…let me explain.

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5 (tasty) Ingredients for Professional Software Tutorials

videofactsFor this post, I want to share some tools I’ve used to create awesome looking software video tutorials.  There are lots of options out there, but choosing the right tools will make your experience much more pleasant.

We’ve all probably watched videos on YouTube on ‘how to do’ something software related (okay, maybe just me).  Most people don’t spend any amount of time making these videos look decent, so all you get is a tiny or blurry picture with echo-y and low volume.

I cringe.

If you want to create software tutorials, you probably fall into one of two camps – you are creating tutorials for existing software or you are creating tutorials for software your company makes.  Either way, these tools are for you.

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Drowning in Data, Starving for Information

Hand of drowning manData. Big data. Analytics.
Your new favorite buzz words.

Hopefully by now you have begun collecting data inside your organization (and if you haven’t…please start now). But since starting to collect it, what have you actually done with it? Is it sitting on a hard drive because you are not sure what to do next?

Are you still making all your decisions based on your gut feeling, “experience”, and business politics?

Let’s take your data and make magic.
Here are four easy ways to make use of your data and look like a data rock star.

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3 Powerful Books to Jumpstart Your New Business

IntellectualI never considered myself an avid reader…until I started reading business/startup/self help books. They are addicting. Reading stories from the trenches and principles guiding towards success will help alleviate some of the anxiety and “unknowns” that keep you up at night.

Here are my top 3 books to get you started:

The Art of the Start – Guy Kawasaki
This was the First entrepreneurial book I ever read. It was given to me by a friend/mentor when I started being interested in starting my own business. At first I was skeptical, thinking I couldn’t learn much from a “business book”…but I was blown away. Guy gets right to the point on startup principles and covers a wide variety of topics every business owner needs to know: pitching to investors, customers, and partners; writing your business plan; and “Rainmaking”.
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur – Mike Michalowicz
As easy (and highly entertaining) read combining extreme humor, bootstrap resources, real life stories, and countless tips to get your adrenaline rushing to go out and start your new business today. This particular book from Mike is focused on bootstrapping your business. I’ve read this book over and over again – and have many sticky page markers sticking out of the edges.
Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur – Pamela Slim
Taking the leap from a stable corporate job to entrepreneurship is difficult. Even more so when you have many dependents relying on you. This book gives real life anecdotes to many challenges facing new entrepreneurs (and those thinking of taking the leap). This book helps push you to take the adventurous plunge – strategically – and helps evaluate the considerations and planning needed to confidently (or at least

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6 Secrets to Kick-Ass Confident Presenting

microphoneIf you are an entrepreneur, or think you want to be an entrepreneur, chances are you will have to give a presentation at some point in your career.  If you are not an entrepreneur, and have no desire to be an entrepreneur, chances are you will have to give a presentation at some point in your career.

Having great (or even good) presentation skills can distinguish you apart from the crowd and impress peers in your field.  Public speaking is a fear countless people have.  And I will be the first to admit, when I was young, I always dreaded speaking in front of people (not being able to say my “R’s” correctly might have added to that anxiety…especially when your name has four R’s in it!).

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Be a Culture Owner (Part 1)

Every single person in an organization has the opportunity to be a driver of the company culture.  Culture has an incredible impact on employee happiness.   Growing a culture that fits your employees can produce higher employee productivity, lower attrition rates, and best of all, create an engaging and fun workplace environment.

Don’t wait for someone else to take the reigns.  Start small.

Here are a few ways to own your culture:

  • Weekly company food competitions – are you in the mood for chips and guacamole?  Hold a company/department “Guac off” – best part, everyone brings in the food you love to eat.
  • Work with your team to create your Immutable Laws.
  • Create a culture book – include all the things that make you and your company unique (as well as exposing all the “weirdness” that is housed within your friends/co-workers).
  • Create a mascot – for either the whole company or your team.
  • Make t-shirts, stickers, and posters of said mascot.
  • Have random dance parties.
  • Make fun videos to help explain concepts at meetings.

Remember: often the most important pieces of a company culture are the unplanned events.

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4 Reasons Excel (and Gmail) is NOT your CRM

Keeping tabs on customers both through the sales pipeline and as paying clients can be the difference between having a successful company and one that flops. Everyone is quite familiar with the motto – 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. So why do only 10% of people make it to the third contact?

Too much data.

The amount of data you are (or should be) collecting on potential customers (and current clients) can get extremely overwhelming after just a few weeks of having your product in the market.

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Drop everything, and create your immutable laws

Every person and organization has a ‘code’ they live by. They shape the decisions that are made and help keep you (or your co-workers) in check to what is really important. Many times, this code is theoretical and abstract. However, writing them down not only holds yourself and others accountable, but strengthens your team and builds a common goal for daily living.

I first came across Immutable Laws while reading The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz (great read…highly recommend for any budding entrepreneur). I first started out by using the laws he created in one of his companies, but quickly learned each person…each organization needs to write their own.

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